Their contracts were terminated long ago: BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah
Contractors hired by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to maintain the 1,500 parks in the city have decided to go on strike from Wednesday as they have not been paid for the last two years.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Chaitra Priya, president of the Horticulture Contractors Union, said that none of the 60 contractors have been paid their dues since 2010-11.
Even as BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah said that their contracts had been terminated “long ago”, Mr. Priya said that the outstanding dues amount to nearly Rs. 12 crore.
Claiming that the gardeners hired by them were paid from their (the contractors’) own savings as well as borrowings, Mr. Priya said that the 60 contractors had been hired by the BBMP in 2010-11 through tenders. “Since then, no fresh tenders have been called for. We were asked to continue until fresh tenders are called for. Now, after two years of working like this, we have not been paid a single rupee,” he said.
Another contractor, M.L. Satish, said that there are 7,000 gardeners working for the 60 contractors. “It is becoming unsustainable for us to continue paying them,” he said.
He said the contractors’ union had made several representations to several authorities in the BBMP as well as the Forest Department. “The Horticulture Department’s Standing Committee had recommended to the BBMP to clear our bills. But we are being made to run from one office to another,” he said.
Mr. Siddaiah, however, disputed these claims and said that a few contractors had been hired at the zonal level on an ad hoc basis. “But there was no provision in the budget for hiring people to maintain parks. But we are conducting an internal investigation to ascertain the veracity of the contractors’ claims and the terms of their employment at the zonal level,” he said.